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Is A Coilover Suspension Right For Your Jeep

We all love Jeeps because they are easy to customize. You can put in all kinds of modifications and upgrades to give your ride that extra performance boost. One of the most popular modifications among Jeep owners is installing a suspension lift kit to give their vehicles adequate ground clearance to get over obstacles on the trail. It also improves the approach and departure angles of the Jeep.

There are different kinds of suspension systems on the market and we find lots of Jeep owners debating whether or not a coilover suspension system will work for their vehicles. To help you with that decision, we decided to clarify a few things about coilovers – what they are, how they work, how they differ from regular suspensions and the advantages of installing them.

What is a Coilover?

Simply put, a coilover is a type of suspension system made up of a spring that’s wrapped around a shock absorber forming a single suspension unit. Both the spring and shock are tuned to work together to absorb impact and give the best dampening performance on any terrain you drive on.

In a typical coilover, the shock body is normally filled with oil and has a shaft running through the center. This shaft contains a piston with small holes and shims which allow the oil to flow through, offering some resistance that produces the dampening mechanism for the shock.

Whenever you drive heat tends to build up in the shocks and if left unchecked, would degrade the oil present in the shock body, affecting the shock’s performance. To counter this, several high-performance coilover shocks are also pre-filled with nitrogen which stops the formation air bubbles in the oil. Additionally such shocks also have an aluminum body which helps dissipate some of the heat before damage is done.

The most common type of coilover has a 2-inch dimension and a travel length of 10-16 inches, although some with 2 1.5 and 3-inch diameters are also available. The advantage of 2-inch coilovers is that they have more spring rate choices to choose from.

How Does a Coilover Suspension Differ from a Regular Suspension?

In a regular suspension system, the springs and coils are installed independently as separate components. The springs absorb impact and rebound while the shocks dampen the energy produced by the springs and work to control the rebound force.

The coilover suspension differs because the shock and spring form a singular, self-contained unit. The shock is installed in the spring and they both work together. Another huge difference is that a coilover system is more adjustable, allowing you to easily make adjustments to the overall height of your Jeep.

Factors to Consider Before Installation

There are 3 main things to keep in mind before installing a coilover suspension on your Jeep. These are:

  1. The size of lift that you want

As part of your custom Jeep build, you might want to lift your vehicle. Most coilover systems allow a height adjustment of 3.5” to 6”. With a 3.5” lift, you’ll hardly need to modify any other suspension components but the story changes when you go to 4” and higher. With these higher lifts, you’ll have to make adjustments to other parts of the suspension system to ensure proper suspension geometry to help your vehicle sit and handle well. Such complex installations and adjustments are better handled by trained mechanics in a specialized 4x4 auto shop.

  1. The maintenance the system requires

Coilover systems require a bit more maintenance especially if your Jeep will be exposed to elements such as snow and salt. These can work into the threads of the shock body and cause havoc, preventing any type of adjustment to the shocks. Because of these, coilovers need to be taken out and disassembled for proper cleaning and maintenance, sometimes several times a year. You need to be prepared for that.

  1. The overall cost

Coilover suspension kits alone are expensive. When you factor in the cost of the other suspension parts needed to complement the system as well as the qualified professional mechanics and labor required for the installation, the overall cost can run into thousands of dollars.

Pros and Cons of a Coilover Suspension System

The Pros

  • Excellent handling. Installing a coilover system in your Jeep is likely to result in improved handling and a smoother ride compared to a regular suspension system.

  • Adjustability.  Coilovers can be easily tuned and adjusted to suit your height preference for your Jeep whether you want a low-rider or one that sits high off the ground.

The Cons

  • It’s expensive. As outlined above, coilover systems can be pretty expensive to purchase, install and maintain. However, skimping on the cost and going for a cheaper, low-quality coilover or to get one installed incorrectly will cost you in terms of handling and safety. Cheaper, poorly made coilovers can give you a stiff ride and are prone to failing.

Come Talk To Us

There’s no doubt that coilover suspensions offer a huge advantage, especially on rugged terrain, giving better performance and ride quality. They are also relatively easy to tune and adjust to suit the height you want for your Jeep.

We hope that this information helps you make an informed decision on whether or not to install one of these suspension systems in your Jeep. Installing coilovers is a substantial investment so we urge you to do plenty of research before you make your decision. Keep in mind that these systems will require involved installation and more maintenance throughout the year so be sure that you can handle this.

If you’re still not sure whether coilovers are right for your Jeep, come on over to one of our Dixie 4 Wheel Drive auto shops and chat with our 4x4 experts. We’d be happy to go over the advantages and disadvantages of this suspension system with you. We also have the tools and expertise needed to do the installation, if that’s what you decide on. So pay us a visit today.

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